Over the last week or so I’ve had to investigate many different Linux distributions.  The reason is because there are hardly any operating systems that will run on a eeepc 4G Surf anymore.  This all started when I misheard some advice and installed the newest version of Ubuntu 9.10 NBR.  While I’d love to give you a review, it did nothing but blow up my netbook.  To my credit, I’ve been using one version or another of Linux for about 7 years now.  So I’m not exactly a n00b and will put up with a lot of crap from an OS if I like it.  Since I had to reload my OS anyway I thought I’d do a little digging and a little shopping around.  Get out of my comfortable Ubuntu/eeebuntu zone and see what’s out there. 


Boy, did I find stuff!  Mostly what I found is that Linux distributions are like women’s shoes.  There are an infinite number of brands, styles and colors to choose from but a lot of them are going to hurt.  So without much further ado, my quick and dirty run down of different Linux distributions experiences on my Asus eeepc 4G Surf (BTW, this is by no means an exhaustive list):

First off was Ubuntu.  Now Ubuntu is a lot like your favorite pair of sneakers.  They’re easy, they’re comfy, comes in fun colors and works for just about anywhere you might need to go.  Usually it’s my first choice for an Operating System and the first one that I grab for changing people over from Windows to Linux.  Sadly, Ubuntu NBR isn’t really designed for a 4G Surf.  It tried to tell me my battery was dead (which was untrue as it works fine), the hard drive was corrupting (which it wasn’t) and boy did it turn up the heat on my CPU.  All not good things.  Which leaves me to the sad conclusion that my trusty sneakers were suddenly a size too small.

Next up was Easy Peasy.  That one was like opening a box of shoes and finding nothing in it.  Cuz it never got past the uninit file.  Meaning it didn’t boot.  I’m willing to chalk it up to unetbootin but that program worked on every other install I did, so mostly if the OS don’t boot, I’m not interested.

Slax was also touted to work on the 4G surf.  And it did.  Wow, did it go.  It was the fastest thing I’d ever seen.  This was like the Jimmy Choo’s of operating systems.  Sleek, fun, and did I mention you can customize it to your own special distribution?  Oh yeah, I thought I had a winner on this one.  It’s designed to work off a flash drive, so everything is loaded into RAM which is why it’s so fast.  While it does mean that you have to have a good amount of RAM, thanks to Windows system requirements, I have yet to meet a newish computer with less than 512M.  Plenty to run Slax, which even when I added a bunch of toys was only about 200M.  I thought I had found “The One” perfect OS for my little 4G.  That was until I tried to install it to my hard drive.  You see, this is possible, but highly difficult considering they’ve taken the installer out of the Operating System.  Yes, boys and girls, there is no installer, and you can’t download one from their site either.  I tried.  You have to go find an old version out there somewhere to do this and that frankly was too much damn work.  So bye bye Slax.  It was like finding out the shoes you’d fallen for were way way out of your price range.

The latest experiment was Puppy Linux.  Puppy is awesome in the fact that it comes in every shape, color and size imaginable.  It is also designed to run off CD or flash drive and the developers encourage what they call Puplets.  Now the puplets get cred for some freaking awesome names.  We have “Hurt Me Pretty” and “eeeTiger.”  rawor…  I searched the puplets and decided on Simplicity Linux and eeeTiger.  The awesomely sweet thing about Puppy is that because it’s so tiny you can have more than one distribution on your hard drive.  Well, that was the theory anyway.  I installed Simplicity first.  I liked it.  Thought between it and eeeTiger I had an acceptable solution.  This is the pair of shoes that you think will work, the ones you buy that you’re like “I like these, they’re not much to look at but I can work with them.”  And I was willing to try.  Both eeeTiger and Simplicity, who turned out to be not at all simple mind, I was willing to try out through November.  Until they cannibalized each other over the past weekend.  And I do mean cannibalize.  Suddenly nothing was booting without upgrade and updates for the version of Puppy it didn’t even USE and Oh. My. God!  It was like the that ok pair of shoes disintegrated right in the middle of a presentation with the CEO of the company.  That kind of bad.

Which left me with?  Eeebuntu.  She might not be flashy, and she’s damn comfy but it works and I’m happy.  Now if I could just get the Network Manager to work after coming out of hibernation.